CFP: 2016 Northeastern Workshop on Southern Africa

Jill Kelly's picture
August 30, 2015
Vermont, United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies

This is a call for papers and discussants for the twelfth North Eastern Workshop on Southern Africa (NEWSA). We encourage scholars from all disciplines who are currently working on southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to submit proposals. The meeting will be held at the Bishop Booth Conference Center in Burlington, Vermont (USA), April 15-17, 2016. Located on 130 acres of forest with its own secluded beach, the center is an ideal location for scholarly conversation.

The NEWSA conference is organized around intensive discussion of pre-circulated papers. There are also many opportunities for informal conversation about work in progress. Drawing on the successful precedents of the former Southern African Research Program at Yale and the Canadian Research Consortium on Southern Africa, this program is designed to give southern Africanists the opportunity for close and intensive discussion of work across a wide variety of scholarly fields. We aim to prioritize scholarship, regardless of discipline or topic, that is evidence-based and grounded in analysis of African discourses and concepts, and which elucidates local worldviews and experience.

We encourage the presentation of previously unpublished work, and submissions from graduate students and junior faculty in particular. However, we are unlikely to accept any papers submitted from graduate students unless the writer has completed significant fieldwork that informs the analysis. We especially encourage participation from professionals, scholars and graduate students in Africa, as well as those located in Europe, Canada, and the United States.

There are multiple ways to participate in the NEWSA conference. Participants may: (a) present a paper (b) propose a panel of three papers, or (c) serve as a discussant.

Because of the high demand for participation relative to the size of the conference facility, and our desire to maintain the workshop atmosphere, we can only allow attendees who are presenting papers or serving as discussants.

If you wish to give a paper, your proposal should include your name, academic affiliation and status, paper title, and abstract. Your abstract should explain the argument you intend to make, the source of your evidence (e.g., archival, fieldwork, survey), and the contribution your paper makes to understanding significant problems in southern Africa, to furthering conceptual debates, and/or to producing new knowledge in Southern African Studies. The maximum length for the abstract is 500 words.

If you wish to organize your own three-paper panel, your proposal should include all the authors’ names, titles and abstracts for all three papers, as well as a brief rationale for how the papers complement each other. The organizers will be happy to negotiate alternative panel formats (such as open discussions of a current issue). We also reserve the right to accept only some papers within a panel. You may choose to include a discussant, or leave it to us to provide one.

If you wish to serve as a discussant, your proposal should indicate the areas of southern African studies on which you are most prepared to comment. Once the conference participants are selected and organized into panels, each panel will be assigned a discussant. Discussants read the pre-circulated papers by the participants in their session, and at the conference give a 10-15 minute constructive criticism/comment on the papers individually and collectively. Discussants also coordinate discussion of the papers amongst those attending the panel.

The deadline for paper and/or panel proposals, or to volunteer as a discussant, is August 30, 2015. Please send proposals in MSWord or RTF format to (No PDF files please).

Completed papers, not to exceed 8000 words, will be due March 21, 2016, so that the papers can be pre-circulated on a conference website ahead of the meeting.

Please note that NEWSA has a new website and list serve; information to sign up for the list serve is available here:

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